My older sister is in the second trimester of her pregnancy with their first child. It’s an odd feeling to be sharing advice and experiences with my older sister. So I’ve been reflecting upon the lack of knowledge I had about this experience when about to be a brand new mom.
Check out my insights… When I got pregnant with my first child the excitement was so huge! Everything was normal, and at 12 weeks we cautiously started sharing with our family and closest friends. As I got further along I got advice from all! “Get a lot of sleep now, it’s about to change!” “Whatever you eat now your baby will be obsessed with when solids come along.” “Pick a strong solid name!” “Find out the sex, for the love, then you can talk to baby now.” For some reason everyone thinks they should share everything with all pregnant women, except for the things I think we REALLY needed to know. No one speaks about what YOU will experience after birth. No one tells you the norm. No one shares what actual birth will be like. I think it is time we begin sharing the real story! My birth story with baby number one was not what I was expecting. I was induced because I was swelling abnormally and my blood pressures were in an unhealthy range. I pushed for 3.5 hours with little progression. Then I ended up having a c-section. I was not expecting that to be my story, I was expecting a drug free birth. I had not heard what recovery would be like. And there are many, many postpartum “regulars” that are kept secret unless you ask a close friend or family member, who’s had a baby, the specifics. I also had no clue that the hormones after baby would be raging and cause even level headed woman to question and cry about EVERYTHING.
However, we should not fret, this is normal. So, let’s talk about what is normal and how to cope. It is totally normal for your milk to come in and your breasts to be as hard as rocks. Do NOT feel crazy if you send your husband to the supermarket to buy a cabbage at 5AM. If he does it, you snagged yourself a keeper! Also, it’s normal to have some moments where you are very emotional about the feeding of baby (formula or breast milk): are they getting enough, is this too much spit up, are they gaining enough weight? A very good pediatrician will ask you how YOU are doing, they are well aware that it is a big change to have a newborn and lack of sleep makes us even more emotional. If a pediatrician makes you feel anything is “your fault” then you march to the front desk and ask to see a more understanding doctor. Your body will go through so many strange changes. First, you will bleed like crazy, I mean, like CRAZY. In the hospital they will push on your belly to see that your body is beginning to stop bleeding in spots like your c-section incision. You will use the largest pads of your life!
Listen to your body and call your OB or Midwife for anything that does not feel like it would be normal. Do not be at all surprised if you leave the hospital with more swelling than you came with. Your body is retaining water and you will sweat this all out in the coming weeks. On that note, if you wake up in the middle of the night in what feels like a pool of your own sweat, NORMAL. I could probably go on and on, but that would not be super helpful. So, instead I will leave you with this, you just gave birth, your body is incredible and your baby is amazing. Remember your body will most likely not instantly bounce back to pre pregnancy shape. Give your body time, take it easy on yourself, you just brought new life into the world and that child grew and developed over 9 months. Final words? Just do the best you can with what you’ve got, you are enough!
Lauren Brown is a Certified Health Coach, Mother of Three and Beautycounter Consultant.